Watch: Debris Found in El Faro Search

By MarEx 2015-10-04 16:17:46

Search and rescue teams on Sunday located debris which appeared to belong to the cargo ship El Faro that went missing in the eye of Hurricane Joaquin with 33 mostly American crew members aboard, the U.S. Coast Guard and the ship’s owner said.

Life jackets, containers and an oil sheen were spotted by U.S. Coast Guard aircrews flying over the Bahamas on the third day of their search for the container ship.

The owners of the El Faro, Tote Maritime, also said two vessels it sent to the scene had found a container “which appears to be from the El Faro.”

There had been no sighting of the El Faro or any life boats, Tote Maritime Puerto Rico president, Tim Nolan, said in a statement.

“Our thoughts and prayers remain with the 33 individuals aboard the ship and their families,” he added.

The Coast Guard could not confirm that the objects belonged to the El Faro, which sent a distress call on Thursday in the Bahamas but has not been heard from since.

“The debris is scattered about over several miles,” said Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Ryan Doss with the Miami station. “It’s going to take some time to verify. The items would appear to be consistent with the missing ship.”

El Faro, a 735-foot (224-m) container ship with 28 U.S. citizens and five Polish nationals on board, was headed to San Juan, Puerto Rico, from Jacksonville, Florida when it reported losing propulsion and that it was listing and taking on water, the Coast Guard said.

Joaquin battered the central Bahamas archipelago for more than two days with 130 miles (210 km) per hour winds, a potentially catastrophic Category 4 hurricane on a scale of 1 to 5.

Doss said weather conditions in the search area had greatly improved on Sunday which would enable Coast Guard ships or a helicopter to retrieve the debris for verification.

“There is unrestricted visibility and ideal search conditions right now,” he said.

The Coast Guard and U.S. Air Force sent out four C-130 search and rescue planes at dawn on Sunday, and three Coast Guard cutters were headed to the area.

On Saturday, pilots working in high winds and seas found three life rings in waters to the northeast of Crooked Island in the Bahamas, about 75 miles (120 km) from the ship’s last known position. One was confirmed to belong to the El Faro.

Conditions in the area on Friday and Saturday hampered search efforts, with 20 to 40-feet seas and winds in excess to 115 miles (185 km) per hour, the Coast Guard said.

In video released by the Coast Guard, one pilot said visibility was less than a quarter of a mile (0.4 km) while flying low at 1,000 (300 m) feet.

“This was the most challenging weather conditions anyone on our crew had ever flown,” said Coast Guard pilot Lt Dustin Burton after returning Saturday from his mission.

It is not known whether the El Faro was able to recover propulsion at some point.

There were no further communications after a distress call received at about 7:30 a.m. (1130 GMT) on Thursday, the Coast Guard said. The search and rescue efforts have covered more than 30,000 square miles since then.

“We are very surprised that we lost all communication with the ship,” Mike Hanson, a spokesman for Tote Maritime Puerto Rico, said.

The ship was equipped with an onboard transponder as well as a satellite phone and GPS devices on the containers, he said.

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The Internet of Big Things

By Wendy Laursen 2015-10-03 20:59:38

Wärtsilä announced last week that it had signed a maintenance agreement with GasLog to ensure the reliability of operation of GasLog’s seven LNG carriers.

The demand for predictive analytics and advisory services is increasing, says Wärtsilä. Data collected via satellite will allow GasLog to maximize intervals between maintenance periods, streamline logistics for spare part deliveries and ensure that main generating engines are operating optimally, thereby lowering operating costs and minimizing fuel consumption.

The news follows Wärtsilä’s “huge step” forward in the development of a next generation of service and maintenance technologies – its augmented reality goggles. The goggles use the ship’s satellite communications to deliver audio-visual guidance to onboard engineers from remote experts.

Tomas Hakala, Vice President, Engine Services at Wärtsilä, says the company is bringing more and more information into asset performance optimization. A cargo ship typically generates around 2.5 gigabytes of data a day, he says, so it is a matter of making sense of the data, probably discarding 90 percent and using the remaining 10 to make educated decisions.

“We are now going into the next level which is lifecycle planning – to be able, Day 1, to pretty much determine what the predicted lifecycle is, what it is going to consume in terms of parts and what it is going to consume in terms of service technicians.”

The Internet of Big Things

A growing range of big data solutions are being developed. “Caterpillar goes beyond the Internet of things to the Internet of big things,” said Chairman and CEO Doug Oberhelman at the company’s recent annual stockholders meeting.

Earlier this year, Caterpillar Marine announced its own solution with the acquisition of vessel monitoring and data analytics company ESRG Technologies Group. The acquisition included ESRG’s software suite for the remote monitoring and diagnostics of more than 65 onboard systems as well as the expertise to provide meaningful recommendations to shipowners.

Caterpillar is now able to make vessel productivity and equipment recommendations on vessels operating with Cat equipment or with any other competitive power solutions. The solutions are not limited to the engine, but focus on the entire ship as well as all of the operating systems.

Data Center

ClassNK is also extending its reach into big data. After launching the condition-based maintenance system CMAXS PMS in 2014, the classification society is now looking to integrate it with the ClassNK Data Center. The center will bring together the data collected from CMAXS in secure onshore centers with tightly controlled access.

Instead of monitoring the condition of just one vessel, the center could enable ship operators to monitor every vessel in an alliance’s fleet. Similarly, an engine manufacturer could monitor the performance of every one of its engines around the world.

The Three Vs

Lloyd’s Register (LR), in their Global Marine Technology Trends 2030 report, describes a new era of data that is increasingly being seen as beneficial to the industry. “Most definitions of big data include the three Vs, data of high volume, velocity and variety, or information assets that demand cost effective and innovative forms of information processing for enhanced insight and decision making.”

Mining data in the shipping industry will offer new knowledge and added values that we’ve never known before, says LR. “An early recognition of problems can be achieved. Speeding up the simulation time will allow the industry to take faster actions. Asset utilization, employee productivity, customer experience and supply chain logistics will be improved.”

Faster and more capable processors will handle data of high complexity and volume, and data transfer speed will be accelerated with the help of the increasing bandwidth from affordable satellite services. LR predicts that with the integration of 5G, WiFi and new generation satellites there will be transformation everywhere.

“Stakeholders will be able to monitor live audio and high definition or 3D video collected on board. Radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags will support through-life asset management, including the tracking status of cargoes as well as structural and machinery components.”

The classification society’s predictions are being proven already.

The Internet of Everywhere

In September, Inmarsat unveiled its new machine-to-machine and the Internet of Things strategy – “the Internet of Everywhere.” By strengthening partnerships with strategic resellers, Inmarsat says it is now able to provide customers with bespoke, end-to-end services which enable operational visibility and control of their fixed and mobile assets – anywhere.

The strategy follows the launch of the company’s third satellite in its Global Xpress constellation also in September. Communications have evolved far beyond being simply another cost obligation on owners, says Inmarsat Maritime President, Ronald Spithout. “Communications are now a fundamental driver of efficiency. The capacity resulting from high throughput satellite bandwidth and coverage available via the Global Xpress network will allow Inmarsat to deliver sufficient bandwidth, in a cost effective manner, to handle data flow between ship and shore and vice versa in order to exploit the full potential of big data within the maritime space.”

The satellites’ capabilities allow Inmarsat to build a service layer, called the Inmarsat Gateway, across its network that will deliver value-added solutions to the maritime community, says Spithout. Inmarsat Gateway enables third-party suppliers, such as engine manufacturers or soft-bridge providers, to build applications that interface with the Inmarsat network.

Smart Cargo

CMA CGM announced last week that it has outfitted the Bougainville, its flagship vessel, with next-generation technology that makes it the world’s first container ship with built-in container connectivity.

The 18,000-TEU vessel is equipped with TRAXENS technology that enables containers to communicate among themselves and to the ship’s communication infrastructure by using built-in relay antennas that allow even the most deeply hidden container to be connected.

The system collects data such as location, temperature, humidity level, vibrations, impacts, attempted burglary and customs clearance status in real-time. The system can also remotely control and adjust the temperature of refrigerated containers.

The Future of Work

GE believes that the Industrial Internet could add $10 to $15 trillion to global GDP in efficiency gains over the next two decades. In a white paper released last week, GE describes what it calls the “future of work” – the merging of digital and physical technologies. The Future of Work is driven by three interrelated and mutually reinforcing trends:

1. The Industrial Internet, which merges big data with big iron, integrating cloud-based analytics with industrial machinery, resulting in greater efficiency and reduced downtime.

2. Advanced Manufacturing, which weaves together design, product engineering, manufacturing, supply chain, distribution and servicing into one cohesive intelligent system, delivering greater speed and flexibility at lower costs.

3. The Global Brain, the collective intelligence of human beings across the globe integrated by digital communication, resulting in crowdsourcing, open collaboration and a much faster pace of innovation.

The Future is Here

As Tor Svensen, DNV GL Group Executive Vice President, said at a recent conference in Berlin: The connected ship is arriving much quicker than many have anticipated.

The opinions expressed herein are the author’s and not necessarily those of The Maritime Executive.

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Life Ring From El Faro Found

By MarEx 2015-10-03 20:22:33

A life ring has been found from the cargo ship El Faro, which went missing on Thursday after sailing through Hurricane Joaquin in the Bahamas, the U.S. Coast Guard said on Twitter on Saturday.

A search-and-rescue crew found the life ring in waters to the northeast of Crooked Island in the Bahamas, about 75 miles (120 km) from the ship’s last known position before it went missing on Thursday morning, the Coast Guard said. A spokesman said crews will resume the search in the same area at sunrise.

“Because we found a life ring, the assumption can be made that we are searching in the right area,” said Coast Guard spokesman Petty Officer Jon-Paul Rios.

“When we commence searching tomorrow morning at sunrise, hopefully we’ll be able to find something else. Every little bit helps,” he added.

This is the first trace of the El Faro, a 735-foot (224-meter) cargo ship with 33 crew on board that went missing on Thursday morning after it was overcome by heavy weather from Joaquin.

The vessel, with 28 U.S. citizens and five Polish nationals on board, was headed to San Juan, Puerto Rico, from Jacksonville, Florida when it reported losing propulsion and that it was listing and taking on water, the Coast Guard said.

There had been no further communications after a distress call received at about 7:30 am (1130 GMT) Thursday, the Coast Guard said. Search and rescue efforts continued Saturday, after covering 850 square nautical miles on Friday, but turned up no sign of the U.S.-flagged ship.

“We are very surprised that we lost all communication with the ship,” Mike Hanson, a spokesman for El Faro‘s owner, Tote Maritime Puerto Rico, said on Saturday.

“The ship was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time,” he added, saying Joaquin was just a tropical storm when El Faro set out from Jacksonville but later intensified rapidly into a major hurricane.

The hurricane headed toward Bermuda on Saturday after hammering the Bahamas. At 5 p.m. EDT (2100 GMT), Joaquin, which strengthened significantly early Saturday, had maximum sustained winds of 150 miles (240 km) per hour, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

The storm, a potentially catastrophic Category 4 on a scale of 1 to 5, was about 500 miles (805 km) southwest of Bermuda, the Miami-based NHC said.

Haiti Rescue

Two Amver ships assisted the U.S. Coast Guard rescue 12 seafarers who abandoned their sinking 212-foot cargo ship beset by heavy weather from Hurricane Joaquin on Thursday evening after their ship began taking on water 51 miles north of Haiti.

A Bolivian-flagged cargo ship activated their Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) after it began taking on water. “We’ve lost engines, are listing 30 degrees to port and had two cargo booms break loose…”, the crew reported in an email to rescue authorities.

Coast Guard authorities in Miami launched a rescue helicopter and diverted the Coast Guard Cutter Northland along with querying the Amver system and diverting the timber carrier Falcon Arrow and the Ro-Ro Cronus Leader.

The two Amver ships arrived on scene and battled 30-knot winds and waves greater than 15 feet to provide a lee for the 12 crewmen in a life raft while the helicopter began hoisting the survivors and transporting them to shore. All 12 mariners were safely rescued and transported by helicopter to the Bahamas.

The Cronus Leader, managed by NYK Lines, enrolled in Amver on November 30, 2008 and earned six Amver participation awards. The Falcon Arrow, managed by GearBulk, enrolled in Amver on January 1, 1987 and has earned 25 Amver participation awards.

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CMA CGM Installs Container Monitoring System

By MarEx 2015-10-02 15:25:34

CMA CGM has outfitted the M/V Bougainville, its flagship vessel, with next-generation technology which makes it the world’s first container ship with built-in container connectivity. The 18,000-TEU vessel is equipped with TRAXENS technology, part of the digital transformation occuring in the industry to transform standard box ships into smart, connected vessels.

TRAXENS is a Marseille, France-based logistics company offering container monitoring services and was founded in early 2014.

TRAXENS CEO Michel Fallah said in a statement: “The container is an intermodal transport unit handled by numerous operators who don’t have any contact with each other. The idea is to send out information extremely securely along the whole transport chain regarding the condition of the cargo.”

The TRAXENS’ equipped smart containers on board the CMA CGM Bougainville will be able to communicate among themselves and to the ship’s communication infrastructure by using built-in relay antennas, allowing even the most deeply hidden container to be connected.

The system collects data such as location, temperature, humidity level, vibrations, impacts, attempted burglary and customs clearance status in real-time. The customs clearance updates could be particularly vital in deterring false declarations and counterfeits.

The system also provides value in the refrigerated transport of perishable goods. It can remotely control and adjust the temperature of refrigerated containers and will allow resource optimization for routine inspections.

The Bougainville operates on the Ocean3 Alliance’s FAL loop stopping at Southampton, Dunkirk, Hamburg, Rotterdam, Zeebrugge, Le Havre, Malta, Khor Fakkan, Yantian, Xingang, Dalian, Busan, Qingdao, Ningbo, Shanghai, Yantian, Port Kelang and Algeciras before returning to Southampton.

CMA CGM is the world’s third-largest container shipping company.

The company operates 445 vessels which call at more than 400 ports in the world, on five continents. In 2014, over 12 million TEUs were carried by CMA CGM box ships.

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TOTE Vessel Disappears

Coast Guard search and rescue crews are searching for the lost TOTE Maritime M/V El Faro container ship with 33 crewmembers aboard reported to be caught in Hurricane Joaquin, near Crooked Island, Bahamas.

The El Faro, a 735-foot roll on-roll off ro-ro cargo ship, was en route to San Juan, Puerto Rico, from Jacksonville, Florida. At approximately 7:30 a.m. Thursday, watchstanders at the Coast Guard Atlantic Area command center in Portsmouth, Virginia, received an Inmarsat satellite notification stating the El Faro was beset by Hurricane Joaquin, had lost propulsion and had a 15-degree list. The crew reported the ship had taken on water, but that all flooding had been contained.

TOTE released the following statement:

“On September 29, the El Faro, one of TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico’s two ships departed Jacksonville en-route to San Juan Puerto Rico. At the time of the El Faro’s departure, the vessel’s officers and crew were monitoring what was then Tropical Storm Joaquin. As of 720am EST on Thursday October 1, TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico lost all communication with the El Faro. The US Coast Guard was immediately notified and since then we have been unable to reestablish communication. There are a number of possible reasons for the loss of communications among them the increasing severity of Hurricane Joaquin.

TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico’s primary concern is for the safety and well-being of the 33 individuals on board. We are working to ensure clear and frequent communications with their families and loved ones as we learn more.

We have reached out to the families of those impacted and have established open lines of communication to provide them with timely updates. Our thoughts and prayers are with the individuals and their families.

TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico is working closely with the US Coast Guard and all available resources to establish communication by whatever means possible.”

The El Faro is a 14,971-dwt ship which serves the Jones Act route between the U.S., Puerto Rico and Caribbean. The vessel was built in 1975 and underwent renovations in 2006.

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TOTE Vessel Missing in Hurricane

Coast Guard search and rescue crews are searching for the lost TOTE Maritime M/V El Faro container ship with 33 crewmembers aboard reported to be caught in Hurricane Joaquin, near Crooked Island, Bahamas.

The El Faro, a 735-foot roll on-roll off ro-ro cargo ship, was en route to San Juan, Puerto Rico, from Jacksonville, Florida. At approximately 7:30 a.m. Thursday, watchstanders at the Coast Guard Atlantic Area command center in Portsmouth, Virginia, received an Inmarsat satellite notification stating the El Faro was beset by Hurricane Joaquin, had lost propulsion and had a 15-degree list. The crew reported the ship had taken on water, but that all flooding had been contained.

TOTE released the following statement:

“On September 29, the El Faro, one of TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico’s two ships departed Jacksonville en-route to San Juan Puerto Rico. At the time of the El Faro’s departure, the vessel’s officers and crew were monitoring what was then Tropical Storm Joaquin. As of 720am EST on Thursday October 1, TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico lost all communication with the El Faro. The US Coast Guard was immediately notified and since then we have been unable to reestablish communication. There are a number of possible reasons for the loss of communications among them the increasing severity of Hurricane Joaquin.

TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico’s primary concern is for the safety and well-being of the 33 individuals on board. We are working to ensure clear and frequent communications with their families and loved ones as we learn more.

We have reached out to the families of those impacted and have established open lines of communication to provide them with timely updates. Our thoughts and prayers are with the individuals and their families.

TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico is working closely with the US Coast Guard and all available resources to establish communication by whatever means possible.”

The El Faro is a 14,971-dwt ship which serves the Jones Act route between the U.S., Puerto Rico and Caribbean. The vessel was built in 1975 and underwent renovations in 2006.

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